Wake teachers can get free school supplies at a new store

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Wake County teachers will soon be able to purchase free school supplies from Cary to reduce the need to pay for items out of pocket.

The Wake County School Board agreed last week to lease space near the Crossroads Mall in Cary to the WakeEd Partnership to convert it into a “teacher store” providing free school and classroom supplies to teachers in the district.

Keith Poston, president of WakeEd, says the store is needed because teachers shouldn’t have to use so much of their own money to buy the materials their students need.

“We think this will be a very big benefit for teachers,” Poston said at the school board meeting last week. “Unlike masks and vaccines, I think it’s something everyone can agree that all of our teachers, classrooms and students should have everything they need when they go to school. . “

WakeEd is a business advocacy group that supports public education. WakeEd will provide the items it purchases with donation money or in-kind donations.

Teachers spend hundreds of dollars on supplies

WakeEd cited several statistics as to why the store is needed:

Nationally, 94% of teachers in public schools report spending their own money on school supplies.

State funding for school supplies has declined by 55% per student over the past decade.

Teachers in North Carolina spend an average of $ 526 per year of their own money on supplies. Many teachers, especially those without well-funded school PTAs, often spend a higher amount.

New teachers tend to have the greatest needs for supplies.

“While the district does a good job providing basic supplies to our schools, WakeEd Partnership has recognized that gaps remain, especially among our poorest students and families in the county,” the group said in a statement.

WakeEd plans to open the store in early 2022. The teacher will be able to visit the new location to pick up supplies.

Poston says this model can work, citing work done in Mecklenburg and Guilford counties.

Since 2002, Classroom Central has provided free supplies to teachers in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system. The program has since expanded to serve six districts in the Charlotte area.

The Teacher Supply Warehouse is a place where teachers in the Guilford County school system can purchase free supplies.

Store near Crossroads Mall

The location of the new Wake store is the former Crossroads Ford of Cary service center site at 1660 Piney Plains Road in Cary. The school system has purchased the property to turn it into a multi-million dollar school bus hub where school buses will be served.

Construction on the transportation hub is not expected to begin until 2023, so the district is leasing part of the site from WakeEd for the next 20 months.

WakeEd will also be stocking supplies there for “pop-up events” to be held in other locations in case teachers are unable to make it to Cary’s site.

“This will be just another example of a great collaboration with WakeEd Partnership,” Superintendent Cathy Moore told the school board.

This story was originally published September 27, 2021 6:00 a.m.

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T. Keung Hui has been covering Kindergarten to Grade 12 education for the News & Observer since 1999, helping parents, students, school staff, and the community understand the vital role education plays. North Carolina. Its main focus is Wake County, but it also covers education issues statewide.

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